Going green

Electric kettles use power. LOTS of power.

I have an electric kettle. It's pretty fast to boil water, but wow, does it burn up electricity. Here you can see our live electricity meter thingy on the fridge. On the left, a couple of lights are on, as well as the fridge and I think a computer was on as well. On the right -- the kettle is boiling as well. Conclusion: Put just the water in the kettle that you need; don't fill it up ev

Home life

Standing on the inside looking out – graphing my house temperature in the heatwave

So, how did my old wooden house cope with the heat? It's not brilliant, but it's also not unbearable. I was at home most of Tuesday, and graphed the temperature rise. Inside temperature from the thermostat / Outside from the BOM Moorabbin Airport readings. Unlike last time (2010), the overnight temperature had been a lot warmer, and thanks to this being just day one of a four-day heat

Consumerism

Anybody else getting dodgy texts about a United Energy power surge?

Has anybody else had one of these, possibly dodgy, texts? This is the second one I've received now. After the first I replied "Wrong number" and got a "Sorry" back, but the guy is persistent. Something smells fishy. Note the supposed pick-up date, which is last Thursday, three days before the text was received. When I mentioned it on Twitter last night, Marcus Wong noted that there wa

Going green

Going solar – when should I jump, and how many panels?

Pondering adding to the solar hot water on my roof with PV panels for electricity generation. My last electricity bill says I used up 659 kWh in 92 days, costing $187.61 (only including the cost for power and the 100% GreenPower surcharge; excluding the $76.41 service charge which I'd incur no matter how much power used)... that adds up to 2614 kWh in a year costing $744.32, or about 28.5 cents

Going green

Yallourn: impressively big, but inefficient

On the way back from Walhalla, we decided (at Peter's suggestion) to go via Yallourn. He said there was a lookout with a good view over the Latrobe Valley, and the power plants, and the road through Yallourn was very close to one of them.. We started off by diverting off the road to a spot called Peterson's lookout. This turned out to be a long narrow dirt road to a view which, you'd have to sa

Food'n'drink, Home life

We lost power last night in the storm

Things I learnt when we lost power: Take-away pizza by torchlight a bad way to have dinner. A Smart Meter won't keep the juice flowing if there's problems in the local distribution network. I don't have enough torches. At least one per person would be good. The Dolphin mini LED torch I got recently is really good. Will get a couple more of these I think. Thank goodness for mobile in

Home life

They’re not Smart Meters anymore, they’re Advanced Meters

They finally installed a new electricity meter at my house. This was after receiving three sets of letters saying "we're about to install it". It wasn't one of those much-criticised allegedly-defective Smart Meters though -- oh no, it was an Advanced Meter. So much better. Will be interested to see what effect it has on the next power bill.

Going green

When not to use CFLs

Letter the other week in The Age: Not worth the cost AM I the only person having trouble with expensive ''green globes'' alleged to last 10,000 hours? Used eight hours a day, a globe should last more than three years. I have replaced the globe in one lamp four times already this year. I want my cheap, long-lasting, environmentally unfriendly globes back. Leone Garro, Northcote My CFLs

Going green, News and events, Politics and activism

Stuff I’ve learnt from Radio National

Often when I listen to Radio National, I'll learn something I didn't know before. In this case, I was listening to Saturday Extra last week. Cutting power consumption? One item talking about electricity efficiency noted that enormous amounts of money are being invested in distribution networks, instead of being spent on measures to cut consumption (and thus GHG emissions) so you don't need t

Consumerism, Going green

Is domestic Green Power doing anything?

ABC AM on Wednesday on Green power: JEFF ANGEL: Polluters are using our money which we're paying as a premium for GreenPower, in order to report lower emissions, when in fact they're not doing anything. DAVID MARK: Jeff Angel is the director of Total Environment Centre in Sydney. He says the schemes don't work, because they don't reduce Australia's overall greenhouse gas emissions. JEFF A